When opportunity knocks, in radio, you don’t knock it back.

Greg Byrnes chats with Peter Saxon about 4BC’s new Breakfast Show.

The fact that ARN put 4KQ, its Classic Hits standard bearer in Brisbane up for sale was no surprise. The network was forced to divest itself of the venerable call-sign following their purchase of Grant Broadcasters because KQ’s signal clashed with two newly acquired stations on the Sunshine Coast.

It was no great surprise that the station was purchased by SEN, nor that the Sports Entertainment Network would turn KQ into a sports talk station, which rendered the Classic Hits on-air staff redundant.

What did come a surprise was that Nine Radio’s 4BC immediately hired the 4KQ Breakfast team of Laurel Edwards, Gary Clare and Mark Hine and slotted them into the Breakfast slot at  4BC.

“Well, we had to act quickly,” says Nine’s Head of Content Greg Byrnes (left). “The opportunity arose. It came out of left field. We sat down, did our research, looked at how it could work. A heritage program, with a heritage station like 4BC that’s a really good place to start from. We felt. And if you think the other the other factor, that’s certainly worth considering is the highest rating breakfast program in this country is on 3AW, which is not your traditional News Talk radio program. It’s companionship. It’s Melbourne that day that from two presenters, Ross and Russel, who love their city, who know the city and who can engage with their city.

So, if you look at it from that sort of place and think, here’s an opportunity in Brisbane with three presenters in Laurel, Gary and Mark  who know and love this city and are known in their city, are established in their city on a radio station, 4KQ, that’s well known in it too.

“We relaunched 4BC two years ago with a live and local strategy. Neil Breen, “Breeny” has done a great job in establishing a beachhead for us in Brisbane. Then this opportunity arose, and it’s like, well, you have to have a look at it, and we had to move fairly quickly,” said Byrnes.

“Well, hats off to them,” says ARN’s Duncan Campbell. “While some people have been criticising the move, I think it’s actually very clever. I didn’t see it coming. To be honest, I thought they were going to sign with 4BH.”

Campbell, who was heavily involved in snaring Kyle & Jackie O to KIIS106.5 and Christian O’Connell to GOLD104.3, and knows a thing or two about risk taking, says, “Who’s ever that decision was, full credit to them. It’s a bold move… they’re taking a risk. But you never know how far you can go until you do.”

So, what was the initial discussion with the talent about where the new breakfast program on 4BC is headed?

“It started around what we all felt that Brisbane wants. Because ultimately, it’s about the listener,”says Byrnes. “There’ll certainly be more music in the new for 4BC Breakfast program than what you would normally get. But there won’t be as much as what you would have got on a long running talk breakfast program.”

So, exactly how many hit songs will they be pumping out an hour on the new 4BC Breakfast show now?

“Look, we do Talkback and the nature of that is talking. And Laurel, Gary and Mark love the idea of being able to talk to Brisbane more on a daily basis. So, there’s a balance to be to be found. And it’s very, very early days,” says Greg Byrnes.

Peter Saxon